Gina Gutman, Director of Marketing and Public Affairs with Time Warner Cable, joined 30 students participating in a unique after-school homework help project at PS 57, where she provided $3,000 from the company to fill student backpacks with school supplies and support science workshops.

Click Here to view the CSI Today photo gallery of the PS 57 Strategies for Success classrooms.

The after-school program at PS 57 is part of the College of Staten Island’s Strategies for Success initiative within the Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge (SEEK) program, and is a great example of how CSI connects to the Staten Island community.

“Time Warner Cable is proud to support the Strategies for Success program at PS 57 and IS 49,” Gutman said. ” This year we are thrilled that our funds will not only buy school supplies for children in need, but will also allow hundreds of youngsters to experience hands-on science-based education programs.”

In addition to the PS 57 students, 12 CSI mentors were on hand at the event. Rhagina Chisolm, coordinator of the student mentors from CSI, says “I have been a member of the SEEK Strategies for Success Program since 2007. I started off as a tutor at IS 49, tutoring two to five students twice a week. It was a great experience then and an even better experience now that I am site coordinator overseeing 60 to 100 students a week. I really enjoy being a member of the Strategies for Success Program while giving back to the community at the same time. I am proud to have such a dedicated team of college students working alongside me, who share the same interest as I do–becoming a positive role model to students in need of a friend in college.”

When asked about the program, Jakari, a third grader, exclaimed that the program is “Fun! Rock on! I get lots of help with my vocabulary words and math.” Fellow student Mohamed says “third grade is fun. I like a lot of math.” He added that the after-school program is really helping with his reading. Jamelle expressed his thanks for the help with his spelling words.

“Strategies for Success is a great example of how CSI connects to the Staten Island community. Now with the support of Time Warner Cable, we can provide needed school supplies and add environmental science workshops. CSI students who participate as mentors have a wonderful service learning experience, sharing positive interactions with kids who benefit tremendously from this academic and personal enrichment,” commented Erika Hellstrom, Associate Executive Director of the CSI Foundation.

“When a day of Strategies for Success is completed, I feel like I made a difference in a child’s life. Seeing that same child again that week and the progress he/she has made in school is a rewarding experience that warms my heart,” continued Chisolm. “The students enrolled in the SEEK Strategies for Success Program become attached to their mentor. Just seeing their faces light up as we walk through the classroom door is the highlight of my afternoons. It’s a moment to cherish for a lifetime and I am glad to be part of it.”

Strategies for Success was founded in 2001 to specially train SEEK students at CSI in learning and study skills in order to impart this knowledge to elementary and intermediate school children at PS 57 and IS 49. The goal is to improve the academic performance of the students through tutoring, counseling, and general academic skill-building sessions.

The elementary and intermediate school children benefit by having positive college role models and the much-needed academic and personal support that they provide.

The program works in partnership with the Y After School Program at PS 57 and the Jewish Community Center (JCC) Beacon Program at IS 49. The program has been in existence since the fall of 2001 and received its start through a grant from the SI Foundation, formerly the Staten Island Bank and Trust foundation. The Strategies program employs approximately 20 to 25 CSI students per semester. Other activities offered include financial literacy workshops (funded by JPMorgan Chase) a pen pal club between the two schools, bullying and self-esteem workshops, arts and crafts.

Mohamed, Jamelle, and Jakari, three PS 57 Strategies for Success students, at yesterday's event.